Jesus Christ claimed to be the “I AM.” It is the personal name of the God of the Old Testament (Exodus 3:13-14). On several occasions it is recorded that Jesus used the “I AM” formula in attesting to His deity. He claimed to be the LORD God, Jehovah, Yahweh.
The greatest of all the names for the Lord Jesus Christ is the “I AM.”
This is why the apostle Paul wrote: “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus is Lord. The name that is above all other names is “Lord,” and it is equivalent to “Jehovah” or Yahweh. This is the exact equivalent to the words, “I AM.”
The name that is above all earthly and heavenly names is Yahweh, the great “I AM THAT I AM.”
The apostle Paul tells us that the Lord Jesus is so above all other beings that all who are in heaven and the earth will bow and worship Him. He is God. He is not one among many gods, but the One and Only (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Cor. 8:4).
On one occasion He responded to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well when she perceived that He could possibly be the long awaited for Messiah. Jesus said, “He who speaks to you am he.” Literally, Jesus said, “I am,” pointing to His claim to the title “I AM.”
Moreover, that is not the only time He made the claim. He used these words to refer to His deity in John 8:24. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” He was saying you cannot be saved unless you recognize and believe that Jesus Christ is God.
A little later He used the formula again, even more clearly when He said, “before Abraham was born, I am” (8:58). The Jewish leaders gathered around listening to Jesus knew exactly what He meant because they picked up stones to kill Him. He was claiming to be the great I AM and they understood that.
Seven times in the Gospel of John Jesus claims to be the great “I am” (4:26; 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5). In every one of these contexts the “I am” keeps reinforcing the deity of Jesus. He is stating His claim to be God.
Moreover, there are seven more occasions when Jesus used the great formula coupled with a noun describing Himself as the only one who can meet man’s greatest needs in life. He uses the name Jehovah to declare His uniqueness.
Jesus fed 5,000 men and declared, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:35). He alone is able to satisfy the greatest spiritual hunger in your life. Have you come to Him and ate His bread and drank His blood? There is no other way to have life. Do you go to Him daily and eat the bread of life? You will starve to death spiritually if you do not eat at His table daily.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world” (8:12; 9:5). He healed a blind man groping in darkness and then opened his spiritual eyes so he could see the great I AM and worship Him. Are you wandering around in a spiritual darkness following one blind religious guide after another? Jesus is the only light you need to guide you into God’s holy presence. All other “lights” are evil in nature and will only lead you into eternal darkness.
Jesus said that He is the only door into God’s presence. He said, “I am the Door” (10:7, 9). All other doors lead down the wrong path and to eternal destruction. Jesus is the entrance into eternal life (Acts 4:12).
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd” (10:11, 14). Every individual is like a wandering, stray lost lamb caught in the briars of sin. There are a lot of false shepherds herding up stray sheep to take to slaughter. Jesus is the only Good Shepherd. He will take you by the hand and led you into the Father’s presence and give you His nourishment.
Jesus conquered death. Not only did He say, “I am the resurrection and life” (11:25-26), but He rose from the dead to prove it. In fact, this is the great evidence that Jesus Christ is the great I AM THAT I AM. He died, was buried, and three days later rose from the dead. Because He is alive, He can give the resurrection life. This is our hope in the face of death. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (14:6). Only God can claim that. Furthermore, He sustains our spiritual life because He is the True Vine, the only way, and the giver of life. Jesus said, “I am the True Vine” (15:1, 5).
What will you do with the great I AM? Claim Him as your Lord and worship Him today (20:28-29).